In this day and age and constant incoming news of companies being hacked and ransomed for millions, application security testing tools should be employed by every DevOps team. It does pay off in the short, mid, and long term to make security testing part of the DevOps tools stack.

And while software development teams often move fast with the single goal to satisfy business needs and ship features, having security professionals taking care of the security issues is often an expensive and unnecessary organizational approach.

Let’s look into the top application security testing tools available out there and the type of vulnerabilities you can cover without needing in-house security teams or penetration testers. 

  1. What Are Security Testing Tools?
  2. Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools
  3. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) Tools
  4. Closing Thoughts

What Are Security Testing Tools?

Security testing tools blend into a DevOps workflow strategically, essentially forming a DevSecOps model while improving production efficiency and minimizing software development costs.

Such tools allow you to include testing and remediation of potential application vulnerabilities throughout the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) as well as post-delivery Run & Maintain phases. Thus, enabling a DevSecOps model ensures developers adopt a secured development and delivery cycle without lagging productivity and attributing ‘security’ at the bottom of the SDLC.

How a typical DevSecOps cycle may look in a graphic
How a typical DevSecOps cycle may look

The DevSecOps paradigm continues to evolve, and with the emergence of distinct application security tools, organizations can now test and secure different stages of software development and delivery. DevSecOps security tools are most commonly categorized into Static Application Security Testing (SAST) and Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) methodologies.

In this article, we’ll look at the prominently used security tools and approaches.

Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools

SAST models on a multiform of Source Code Analysis, Binary Analysis, and White Box Testing Techniques. At a glance, SAST tools examine an application’s source code for security vulnerabilities, usually before the code is pushed to production. For example, a SAST Source Code Analysis involves testing static code for vulnerable defects as race conditions, input validation, numerical errors, and more.

On the other hand, Binary Analysis requires testing for these defects in code that has been built and compiled. With a vast number of SAST tools, some test only the source code, some test the compiled code, while some test both source and compiled code.

Below are a few notable SAST tools:

LGTM.COM

LGTM is an open-source platform that checks code for Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) through variant analysis and is known to support major programming languages, including C/C++, Go, Java, JavaScript/TypeScript, C#, and Python. Primarily, LGTM uses CodeQL technology to identify an issue, fix it, and scan for similar code patterns to avoid further threats. Using open-source projects on various repository systems, LGTM performs an automated code review, identifying exposures in the source code.

Being an open-source platform, LGTM leverages security experts’ knowledge as contributors who use data science and semantic code search to write queries that detect existing and new code vulnerabilities.

SonarQube

SonarQube is one of the most prominent static code analysis tools designed to clean and secure DevOps workflows and code. Through continuous analysis of code quality, SonarQube performs periodic reviews to detect bugs and security susceptibilities. In addition, SonarQube claims to scan code written in 27 programming languages, including Java, Python, C#, C/C++, Swift, PHP, COBOL, and Javascript, which essentially makes it perfect for teams with varying programming backgrounds or apps that run on multiple platforms.

More so, SonarQube can analyze your code in repositories like GitHub, Azure DevOps, and BitBucket, giving you instant feedback during code review.

The SonarQube community edition is free and open-source and is popularly considered perfect for entry-level CI/CD Secure DevOps. On the other hand, its Developer, Enterprise, and Datacenter editions feature increasing sophistication levels for larger deployments.

Reshift

Reshift was designed to bring security posture to the attention without slowing down development, ideally making it one of the flag bearers promoting a DevSecOps model.

This tool integrates with an integrated development environment (IDE), making it near perfect for identifying vulnerabilities and fixing them in real-time. As one of its key features, Reshift gives you the option to secure your applications during code review, compile-time, and as part of continuous integration.

Reshift is considered a perfect lightweight DevOps Security Testing solution for SMBs and growing software companies looking to integrate security into their Software Development Lifecycle without requiring security expertise for usage.

Insider CLI

Insider CLI is another open-source SAST tool designed on OWASP Top 10 to ease security automation for various programming languages, including .NET framework, Javascript (Node.js), Java (Android and Maven), Swift, and C#.

The Insider Source Code Analysis tool is a community-driven security tool that supports agile and easy software development by scanning for vulnerabilities at the source code level.

With Insider Application Security, you can secure your code directly on the GitHub directory using a free, integrated, and frictionless GitHub action, making it easy to secure your source code contained directly in your GitHub directory.

SAST vs DAST Security Testing Tools comparison in a graphic
SAST vs DAST comparison

The Node Package Manager(NPM) Audit platform provides a large and growing registry of tools and hosts the largest shared Javascript packages globally. Due to its extensive support of platforms and varied packages, NPM is considered optimal if you are looking to secure DevOps pipelines supported by a remote, distributed team.

In addition, the NPM CLI allows you to configure your packages, audit real-time application’s source code while accessing repositories for improved functionality. This solution essentially identifies and manages conflicts in dependencies automatically, helping you fix vulnerabilities in real-time.

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Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) Tools

DAST tools are also commonly referred to as Black Box Security Testing or Vulnerability Scanning tools. These tools test an application from an outsider’s perspective with limited to no knowledge of the written source code.

DAST tools simulate an attack vector’s action, testing the application during runtime to uncover potential security loopholes. These tools run without human intervention, automating the testing process with little to no manual intervention.

Vulnerabilities explored by DAST tools are reasonably broad, including memory corruption, cross-site request forgery, remote file inclusion, buffer overflow, and denial-of-service.

Crashtest Security

The Crashtest Security Suite is a security vulnerability scanning tool with advanced crawling to detect a wide range of vulnerabilities in web applications. By seamlessly integrating into the development pipeline, scans can be automated to be part of the standard build and deployment process.

Crashtest Security is built with modern applications and development teams in mind. That means balancing enterprise-grade scans with a user-friendly interface, meaning you don’t have to be a security specialist to use Crashtest Security.

The scanner covers OWASP Top 10 vulnerability categories, for example, Cross-Site ScriptingSQL Injection, and Insecure Deserialization with an extremely low false positives rate.

You can read about the full features of Crashtest Security here.

OWASP ZAP

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) provides the Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP), a free and open-source penetration-testing tool designed to test web applications.

ZAP acts as a ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacker, mimicking an interception of communication between the tester’s browser and the web app.

ZAP can be installed on all major Operating Systems and Dockers and is known to increase your security testing functionality by installing a wide variety of add-ons available from the ZAP marketplace.

Arachni

Arachni is a free, high-performance testing tool based on the Ruby framework. Its distribution comes in multiple portable packages, which lets you instantly deploy to evaluate your application’s security. You may deploy it as a Ruby Library, CLI Scanner, WebUI, or Distributed system, as required.

Through REST API, Arachni easily integrates with most modern platforms and comes with an abundance of vulnerability analysis checks that offer the highest resilience, accuracy, and reliability levels.

Arachni scans for vulnerabilities as NoSQL injection, Code Injection, XSS, and File Inclusion variants alongside additional tracing optimizations for web applications based on the Javascript frameworks. This makes Arachni a highly automated, distributed penetration testing platform with multiple functions.

Closing Thoughts

Integrating security testing into DevOps requires an approach that not only secures pipelines but is also scalable across multiple business levels. With the right security testing tools, automated analysis of source code and compiled code helps development teams address vulnerabilities by adopting security as an essential facet within the SDLC.

In addition, the right tools enable collaboration, pipeline management, and automated testing, eliminating defects without sacrificing performance, time, and overhead. Like an additional topping, integrating security testing into DevOps also reduces software development costs by reducing the amount of coding required in remediation.

And if you are just started with DevSecOps, we thought this post might be helpful – The 6 DevSecOps Quick Wins You Need Today.